'Ask your agency for log-ins' - Nestlé digital lead on first lessons of 12-month programmatic drive

Establishing trust and transparency with agency partners has been among the key learnings for Nestlé after it embarked on a 12-month drive last year to better understand the opportunities of buying programmatically.

Speaking at the IAB’s RTA: Lessons Learned conference in London today, Gawain Owen, digital lead at Nestlé UK, advised brands to tackle the issues of transparency by simply asking agency partners to allow them unfettered access to every platform they are using.

“Ask your agency for log-ins. I can log-in at any time and see how my campaigns are performing because [the agencies] have nothing to hide,” he said.

Although he didn’t go into detail, Owen revealed Nestlé shook up its agency roster and reviewed the demand side platforms (DSPs) it was using - a move he said “was controversial at the time”.

“I now have a team in place at my new agency where we have complete trust and open transparency, we go and meet publishers together. Ultimately by having those conversations with the publisher, Nestlé and my agency, we’re all on the same page,” he said.

Nestlé has also learned that buying inventory programmatically should not be about a race to the bottom with publishers.

“I actually want to pay more for your inventory,” he told the publishers in the room. “I’m willing to pay a fair price because if I’m at the bottom of the waterfall I’m not going to get any inventory.”

Moving forward, Nestlé is ramping up its focus on programmatic video, an area which is “still fairly new, but really exciting”.

“We are a television led business, that’s why it’s so important for us. For me, premium, guaranteed, whatever you want to call it in the video sector is an absolute must,” he said.

He also commended the broadcasters who are starting to embrace programmatic.

“That would be the holy-grail for the video sector growing,” he said.

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